I have food issues, it's true. I follow a vegan diet most of the time, allowing eggs and fish only occasionally. Hubs and I eat whole, fresh, local, organic, low-fat, home-made food most of the time as well, choosing the best of what God has created on this green earth. And then there are the health challenges. *sigh* So, how does someone like me eat on a camping trip?
PART TWO: MEALTIME
First of all, bring along the right supplies. An iron skillet over the fire works beautifully. Remember that these heirloom pieces should be treated with love, seasoned in the oven with some oil, then only wiped out with a soft cloth and some salt to remove any bits of food. NEVER put your iron skillet in the dishwasher or clean it with detergents! It truly is the original non-stick pan if treated properly!
We brought along a camp stove, but really only used it for toast. Sherando Lake's campsites have nice firepits and grates (some sites even have a rotating arm that swings over the fire!), so we cooked over the fire.
A small, sharp knife and a cutting surface are necessities. Rather than pack up several knives, or one of our large chef's knives, I just pack one small, multi-purpose one. I also bring along silicone or wood spatulas and spoons, and perhaps tongs.
Food tents make everything better. I can prep items for cooking or serving and cover them with a food tent while working on the rest of the meal. These are particularly nice... they came as a set of two, they are sturdy yet collapsible, and they're just adorable on the table.
I can't say enough about a fabric tablecloth! Yes, there is a very colorful vinyl one underneath the cloth for easy cleanup. But I much prefer the cloth next to my arms as we eat and visit at the table to the vinyl (which seems to stick to my skin on a hot day!). Don't forget to use table clips to keep the tablecloth from flapping in the breeze! And fabric dishtowels and napkins are so nice. We remember to remove these from the table into the Jeep overnight to avoid dampness from the sweet dew that falls and to avoid enticing sniffing bears!
Biodegradable dish soap and cloths for clean up after meals rounds out the supply list.
Now, what do we eat? We take MOST of our food with us on our trips to the woods. This takes a little preparation to plan meals and include all ingredients in packing. For this trip, I cooked a crock pot full of black beans before we left and brought them along for camping meals. These could easily be added to some sauteed onions and peppers brought from our garden with a side of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and tortillas.
Breakfast was toast, a little almond butter and home canned jam, fruit, and perhaps eggs. Eggs from a local farmer are great... richer in color and flavor and laid by chickens free from drugs and cages. When at home, we purchase our eggs from Full Quiver Farm, but when in Rome, er, uh, the Shenandoah Valley... We had the opportunity to purchase eggs from Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm and we took full advantage of that! Somehow Polyface hot dogs also made it into my cooler, but you'll have to ask the Hubs about that one!
Lunch was either soup or sandwiches, again from items we brought from home. One day we took a picnic to the lake for lunch. Sublime!
We cooked up some lovely little purple and golden potatoes with onions one evening with a side of the black beans. Yummy and filling!
The cooler also held some pickles and pickled beets, mayo and dijon mustard, meats and cheeses for Tom, and beverages. And we brought along some cookies, pretzels, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, etc. for snacks and trail food.
We'll come down out of the trees and into the towns from time to time for something special, like lunch at Cranberry's in Staunton, but that's another story...